The influence of race/ethnicity and social determinants of health and HPV vaccination in vaccine-eligible adults in the U.S.

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Background: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination is an essential primary prevention measure against HPV-related cancers, currently approved for catch-up for inadequately vaccinated adults by age 26 and for mid-adults aged 27-45 with shared clinical decision-making. Although HPV vaccination rates have been gradually increasing, racial/ethnic disparities and low catch-up among adults persist. Examining the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) associated with HPV vaccination in different racial groups may help explain these disparities in lower vaccine uptake. Previous studies using national datasets have found differences in estimated prevalence of HPV vaccine uptake across datasets for racial/ethnic minorities, especially for Asian Americans, when compared to non-Hispanic White, with results varying from lower to higher uptakes. Despite Asian Americans being a very diverse racial group, most studies either combine them in one category or with other races, resulting in an incomplete picture of HPV vaccine uptake among different Asian American subgroups. Purpose: Using the SDOH framework, this study aimed to examine the racial/ethnic differences for HPV vaccination across three U.S. national databases among vaccine-eligible adults and examine the association between HPV vaccination and Asian racial subgroups. Methods: For the first aim, the study utilized 2017-2019 NHIS (n=30,788), 2017-2020 pre-pandemic NHANES (n=3,685), and 2017-2019 BRFSS (n=30,324) data, ages 18-45 years. Asian racial subgroup disparities for the second aim were assessed with 2014-2018 NHIS data (n=34,839, ages 18-38). Survey-weighted multivariable logistic regression models identified the association between HPV vaccination status (outcome) and explanatory variables: SDOH indicators, race/ethnicity, sex, nativity, and age. Results: The racial/ethnic differences in HPV vaccine uptake were not similar between the three datasets. In the NHIS dataset, compared to Non-Hispanic White, Non-Hispanic Asian and Non-Hispanic Asian males were more likely to be vaccinated. With NHANES data, Non-Hispanic Asian males were less likely to be vaccinated. While BRFSS data did not show statistically significant differences in HPV vaccination for difference races/ethnicity. However, inverse variance weighted averages indicated that compared to Non-Hispanic White, Non-Hispanic Asian individuals had higher odds of receiving HPV vaccination. Males compared to females and foreign-born compared to U.S.-born individuals were less likely to be vaccinated. Among SDOH factors, education level, time since last healthcare visit, health insurance status, and having a usual place of healthcare were significantly associated with HPV vaccination. Compared to White individuals, Asian Indian were less likely to be vaccinated while Filipino and individuals from other Asian subgroups were more likely to be vaccinated. Additionally, foreign-born Asian Indian compared to foreign-born White individuals and Asian Indian females compared to White females were less likely to be vaccinated. Regarding SDOH factors, education level, insurance status, and time since last healthcare were significantly associated with HPV vaccination. Conclusion: This study identified racial/ethnic differences in HPV vaccine uptake and SDOH indicators associated with HPV vaccination. Findings indicate that more studies are needed to assess the differences in these three surveillance systems that led to the conflicting findings and to explore the reasons for lower vaccination uptake among the Asian Indian population. Finally, tailoring HPV vaccine awareness campaigns and improving vaccination access for males, foreign-born, individuals lacking health insurance, or those failing to have regular healthcare visits could help promote HPV vaccination and reduce HPV-associated cancers.